In 2020 Willistown Conservation Trust made a renewed commitment to its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. As our society continues to grapple with the events of recent years that have highlighted significant disparities and inequalities in how persons of different racial, ethnic, age and income backgrounds are being impacted in starkly different ways, WCT has taken a deeper look into its role and duty to be more diverse, equitable and inclusive as an organization. We continue to evaluate how we, as an organization, can truly live out our mission and share our love of nature with individuals of all backgrounds.
The formation of the Committee for Equity and Inclusion — led by Staff and Trustees — has taken steps to address the following goals made at the committee’s inception:
- An ongoing effort to reflect on and actualize our commitment to diversity throughout all levels of our organization.
- Examining our organization’s culture and business practices to ensure equity in our operations.
- Actively seek opportunities to learn about biases and injustices in the conservation field, and how we as an organization can better promote inclusivity across our programming.
After many committee meetings focused on internal reflection, we felt it was critical to take a step further and work with consultants well versed in the DEI sector. We thoroughly researched a variety of providers and consultant firms, ultimately hiring Roshawnda Washington and Michael Matthews from The Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University. Michael and Ro will lead a series of structured conversations and retreats for the Board and Staff to connect on developing a shared organizational vision, review and discuss guiding principles (i.e. values, mission and vision), discuss organizational strengths and challenges, and formulate strategies and goals. The first of these retreats occurred in September, with a focus on defining the concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion, and examining how identity, culture, stereotypes and implicit and explicit bias influence how we perceive, evaluate and react to others.
The next step in this process is the completion of a DEI audit, something that we need your help completing! This audit is designed to offer a real and unbiased look at the current equity, diversity and inclusion conditions of the organization. This analysis is important because it provides us with the essential information to inform, evaluate and improve DEI strategic goals and priorities. We are asking for input from anyone connected to WCT, and we hope that you will take the time to complete this audit by emailing Kate Etherington a survey request here (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Responses will be collected through November 11, 2022. We are deeply grateful for your feedback and look forward to sharing the audit results in the coming months.